Housing an area of about 14 million square kilometers and being the southernmost continent on the planet, this white scenery is one of the most spectacular places in the world. It was discovered in 1820, although it was in 1895 when the first landing took place. The term “Antarctic continent” means “opposite to the Arctic” and is home to many unique and curious species. But what are they? And what characteristics do they have? And what do the animals of Antarctica eat?
Black in color and with a white belly, King penguins are the second largest penguin species. With a lifespan of up to 25 years in the wild, these penguins make numerous dives of more than 100 m in depth, hardly ever returning to the surface quickly. They are characterized by forming large colonies of up to 200,000 birds on the South Georgia Islands .
These Antarctic mammals are characterized by a silvery-brown hue and by having spots, especially the young, as well as by their diet, which is very varied: from small crustaceans to cephalopods. The Antarctic seal or Weddell seal has a great diving capacity, being able to be submerged for up to 80 continuous minutes and up to 600 m deep. This ability is possible thanks to the fact that it has a greater number of red cells and more blood volume.
Another of the best known Antarctic animals is the sea leopard. Characterized for being quite aggressive, among Antarctic mammals is this species of solitary character and that presents a dark gray color, with a light gray hue on the belly.
Have you ever wondered which is the smallest animal in Antarctica ? The answer to this question lies in these crustaceans with a peculiar appearance, as they have translucent bodies with a pink hue and yellow parts. The krill or Antarctic krill ( Euphausia superba ) is known to be the main food of whales , as part of the zooplankton of the feeding. There are about 85 species worldwide and it has a life expectancy of up to 5 years.
The Adelie penguins are a kind of little penguins . They are black with a white belly. They have facial feathers around the bill. They can reach 75 kilometers per hour and have a life expectancy of between 11 and 20 years.
With a great resemblance to some species of seagulls, but dark in color, the great skua ( Stercorarius skua ) are a species of large-sized bird, with powerful wings and characterized by an aggressive character, as it attacks other seabirds to remove them. food.
Other of animals South Pole best known are the pingüinos Emperor. They have a black back and head, they have a yellow circle around their neck and their belly is white. When swimming in the icy waters, they reach a depth of 550 meters and can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes.
The Antarctic cormorant, as its name suggests, is one of the Antarctic animals that is considered exclusive to the area or endemic. Its most relevant peculiarity is its blue eyes, which give it its name as the blue-eyed cormorant . It is between 70 and 80 centimeters in size and weighs up to 3.5 kilograms. As a curious fact about this species, is that it has feathers that are not totally waterproof, so that when they get wet they cause an increase in weight to the animal that facilitates immersion.
It is another of the animals of Antarctica or South Pole . Although it is not an endemic species to this region, it can be seen regularly. It is the largest whale in the world and, in fact, the animal that has been recognized as the largest on the planet today. The blue whale, also known under the name of the blue whale, is a cetacean that is between 24 and 27 meters long and can weigh up to 150 tons (the weight of an adult specimen usually oscillates between 50,000 and 150,000 kg), although cases of more than 30 meters and 170 tons have been registered. It is characterized by a long and stylized figure, with a bluish-gray hue.
Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica)
If we talk about birds of Antarctica , we must highlight this small and, at the same time, delicate bird . The head of the Antarctic petrel ( Thalassoica antarctica ) is brown in color and gradually changes towards the chest until it reaches a white hue. Their diet includes krill, Antarctic fish, and squid, among others.
Although it may seem an impossible action to occur in a place like Antarctica because it is somewhat isolated from the rest of the world, several of the species that inhabit this region are in danger of disappearing and the main reason is global warming and, therefore, climate change . Antarctica is one of the places most affected by global warming and climate change since, in addition to the effect given to species by an increase in temperature, it causes a decrease in the frozen surface, that is, the melting of Antarctica. , and, consequently, a decrease in habitat . This event has challenged many of its inhabitants.